After a long wait Manchester United finally reached the summit of the English Premier League once again.
Louis van Gaal’s men watched on as rivals Manchester City slipped up against Tottenham Hotspur, a few hours later United defeated bottom of the table side Sunderland 3-0 at Old Trafford. That win secured them top spot with a point separating them and City.
Hitting the leaders position so soon this term has surprised a few, and that may include the Man United manager himself.
At various times this term they’ve still looked a nervy and naive team.
In August they failed to beat Newcastle Utd at Old Trafford and looked blunt in front of goal. Against Swansea City they threw away a lead and ended up losing 2-1 to Garry Monk’s side.
They did the same thing in the Champions League when they lost out to PSV.
The same silly mistakes seem to creep into their play. The defensive players switch off and the forwards struggle to put away chances after sways of possession.
But the Red Devils have also picked up big home wins over Spurs and Liverpool. At times, even when they look ordinary they manage to turn things around and produce wins.
The signing of Anthony Martial has lifted the whole club.
The youngster has managed three goals in three league appearances. He has pace, power and natural talent that lights up a game and inspires teammates. You really get the feeling that with time the French forward could be a world-class hitman.
United fans love watching a talented young player develop into star. It happened with the class of 92′ and with Cristiano Ronaldo. The United faithful are hoping Martial can do the same at Old Trafford. His presence gives the whole club enthusiasm and hope.
But United captain Wayne Rooney needs to score more and take some of the pressure off young Anthony. Rooney finally ended his league goal drought yesterday but the side will need him to aim for around eighteen league strikes this term if they want to truly challenge for the Premier League championship this season.
I’d also expect more from new boy Memphis Depay as the year goes on. The Dutch wide-man has looked very good in spells but has to prove that he can be a game changer and if he can reach that level this term then United will look extremely strong come May!
The return of David de Gea in between the sticks has been a huge plus too. The Spaniard is capable of world-class saves and can inspire those in front of him. His stature adds an extra confidence within the team.
Former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson stated this earlier in the week:
“I think De Gea can win us the league,”
It certainly helps having a top quality goalkeeper in your side.
De Gea will be helped with having a much improved Chris Smalling playing ahead of him. The central defender has seen his career stall in recent years but has stepped up so far this campaign and looked commanding. The English international also seems to be developing a good understanding with his partner Daley Blind in beside him.
The squad will always be important to a title tilt, so Marcos Rojo and a fit again Phil Jones will need to show that they can easily come in and not look out of place when needed in defence.
New full-back Matteo Darmian has looked like a new Gary Neville and pretty consistent, apart from a nervy display in Eindhoven. Against Sunderland yesterday the Italian played on the left and did well but it will interesting to see if he can perform there against tougher opponents.
The reason for Darmian’s role on the left is due to Luke Shaw’s leg break in the Netherlands. That is a huge blow for both the player and the club as Luke looked in sensational form before his tragic injury. He’ll be out for at least six months and someone needs to nail down that position!
You’ve then got Michael Carrick, Juan Mata and Bastian Schweinsteiger who all offer vast winning experience and that could be crucial later on in the season. They have that special ability to dictate games and will all need to do that more often as the games get harder!
Then you have the likes of squad players like Morgan Schneiderlin, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia. They all offer different things but can all be invaluable as United seek to win that twenty-first league title!
As this season has already proved, any side can take a point off another. You look at the table and get the feeling that Manchester United are the best of a bad bunch at this stage. No team has really got into a title inspiring run as yet!
Injures have hampered Man City, there seems to be self belief issues at Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs look pretty undercooked at large spells. While Chelsea are struggling to convince anyone that there’s not a crisis at Stamford Bridge.
Yes Man United are top at the moment but they too look very capable of tripping themselves up.
So it is time for legendary boss Louis van Gaal to prove that his experience really can count and steer his side away from any dodgy potholes or banana skins.
Of course Man Utd can win this league title but there is still a long way to go before that stage. They need to take each month as it comes and grind out victories, go on a confidence boosting run and show up against their rivals.
In October we should know more about their intent with clashes against Arsenal and Man City waiting for the current league leaders!
Posted on September 27th, 2015 by scott
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